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Moisturizer is one of the most essential products in your skincare arsenal. Not only does dry skin look dull, it’s also bad for your skin’s health. And that’s why we need our moisturizers to deliver. No matter your needs—from soothing sensitive skin to hydrating a parched complexion—finding the perfect moisturizer can be a daunting task, not to mention an expensive one. But your local drugstore packs plenty of the moisturizers that your skin craves.
When it comes to shopping for moisturizers, it’s all about the ingredients. Look for ceramides, which are naturally found in the skin barrier and help repair and strengthen it. Another key ingredient is hyaluronic acid, a humectant that can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, so it’s great at helping your skin retain moisture.
It’s also important to shop for your skin type. Look for keywords that show that formula is made for you, like sensitive, acne-prone, dry, or anti-aging, to name a few. The right moisturizer will sink right into your skin, absorbing quickly to deliver its perks, including immediately easing up any dryness or tightness and leaving a soft glow. Texture is important too: it should be smooth and lightweight, since you never want to feel your moisturizer on your face. To save you time and money, we’ve rounded up the top drugstore face moisturizers.
Best Overall: Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion
Dermatologists are always quick to recommend anything from Cetaphil, since the line is safe for even the most sensitive skin types, and Daily Hydrating Lotion is proof of that. The super gentle moisturizer nourishes skin with hyaluronic acid to help your skin retain its natural moisture, plus glycerin locks that hydration in. Even itchy, irritated skin will be soothed and smoothed all day long. Plus, the formula is non-comedogenic and fragrance free. What’s not to love?
Best Budget: E.L.F. Illuminating Moisturizer SPF 15
This moisturizer is low on price but big on great ingredients. Shea butter, jojoba, aloe, and cucumber all deliver the hydration thirsty skin craves, and they all boost skin health, too. Skin is left with a natural glow, courtesy of the feather weight formula that’s infused with light-reflecting particles that give skin a soft sheen. Plus, it contains SPF 15 to help with sun protection.
Best for Dry Skin: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Even if your skin is drier than a desert, this magic moisturizer will bring the hydration back. Another brand beloved by dermatologists, CeraVe is gentle and safe for all skin types. Their Moisturizing Cream contains three crucial ceramides and hyaluronic acid to strengthen skin’s natural protective barrier to keep moisture in. This formula delivers 24 hours of moisture thanks to its delivery system, won’t clog pores, and isn’t greasy in the least. Even the National Eczema Association is behind this one!.
Best for Oily Skin: Differin Oil Control Moisturizer with Sunscreen
If your skin is oily and acne-prone, it doesn’t get better than this oil-free moisturizer that has racked up awards for its groundbreaking formula. Developed by dermatologists, it works to absorb excess oil to help prevent future breakouts, which is pretty impressive. It’s non-comedogenic, fragrance-free and never greasy, plus it contains SPF 30, making this lightweight formula the moisturizer of your dreams.
Best with SPF: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer SPF 30
La Roche-Posay has the sunscreen corner on lockdown, and their Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer SPF 30 combines their ace sun protection with their impressive skincare. This moisturizer works its way into the top layer of the skin’s barrier to deliver deep hydration, all while delivering broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection from the sun’s harmful rays. It keeps skin hydrated all day with a combination of prebiotic thermal water, ceramide-3, niacinamide, and glycerin, plus it reduces redness in your skin.
Best for Mature Skin: St. Ives Renewing Collagen & Elastin Moisturizer
When it comes to anti-aging skincare, it often feels like you have to make an investment to turn back the clock. But that’s not the case with this time machine in a bottle from St. Ives. It contains collagen and elastin to plump wrinkles and fight fine lines and a loss of elasticity, courtesy of hero ingredients like safflower seed oil that is sourced from countries like Argentina and Australia, and glycerin. Skin is left glowing, making you look even younger.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Burt's Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream
There’s no need to worry about this gentle formula triggering a reaction, even if you have incredibly sensitive skin. Burt's Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream has been clinically proven to deliver hydration without leading to redness or irritation. It contains rice extract and aloe to soothe and nourish, as well as cotton extract to strengthen the skin’s outer layer and protect it from irritants. The 98.9% natural formula is such a potent moisturizer that is has been honored with the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular drugstore face moisturizers on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 40 different moisturizers overall, screened options from 30 different brands and manufacturers, read over 40 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 20 of the moisturizers themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.